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Conflict in OB: Outcomes or Consequences, Nature, Transitions, Process, Sources, Types, Dynamics, Approaches

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Concept and Definition of Conflict in Organizational Behavior (OB)

Organization is composed with different people with different goals. Roles, responsibilities and authority in the organization are distributed among the people to attain goals. Leadership should make different decisions and chose course of actions as their personality trait and situational variables. Such decisions involved in the process will be fully convinced and coordinate for joint effort. But it is natural phenomenon that everyone cannot accept these things at the same way. The behavior or attitude of opposing to other person or process or system is termed as conflict.

Conflict is opposition or antagonistic behavior of individual in which person shows disagreements in idea, process, system, leadership style, and role in the group. In general, conflict seems to be raised between individual but it can be within the individual, between individuals, between groups and between organizations. Conflict is the result of behavioral interactions in persons, groups and organizations. Conflict most important area of study under organizational behavior as 40 percent of time of leader is spent in managing conflict.

Also read: Organizational Behavior: Concept, Characteristics, Importance, History, Contributing Disciplines
Newstrom and Devis - "Conflict is any situation in which two or more parties feel themselves in opposition."
Conflict, in its common meaning, is the misunderstanding with the prevailing state of practice. It is natural phenomenon for the conscious thinking in group. It arises with the condition in which a person thinks ongoing activities could be different in other ways.

Conflict is viewed negatively from traditional point of view as it is believed that conflict reduces the performance of individual, group and organization.

Outcomes or Consequences of Conflict in OB

a. Positive consequences conflict

Functional conflict creates positive consequences in performance of group or organization. Some of the positive consequences of conflicts are as follows:

  • Conflict provides an opportunity for releasing tension which otherwise would remain suppressed. Conflict provides appropriate application or decision which relives individual from over load. 
  • Conflict stimulates for thinking best alternative course of action. This helps to reduce wastage and hence performance will be improved.
  • Conflict encourages for creativity as every opposition in current state of process and performance. Group members always think for new alternative and on the basis of their creativity, group performance can be improved. 
  • Conflict increases group cohesiveness which improves mutual trust, respect and sharing goals. This helps to attain predetermined goals. 
  • Conflict compels each member of the group regarding the problems or weaknesses in current system. This helps to improve the system of accomplishment of task. 
  • Conflict specifies the level of competencies of group members. It provides challenges to them. 
  • Conflict improves the satisfaction in group members as it helps to attain group goals more successfully. 

b. Negative consequences of conflict

Dysfunctional conflict results negative performance. Here are some evidences of negative consequences of conflict:
  • Conflict increases the relationship conflict which later on changes to personal ego. This helps to encourage members for resignation. This increases the turnover ratio and hence the group performance gets reduced. 
  • Conflict creates high tension among the individuals and groups. In the situation of low capability of management in handling such conflicts, group structure and organization performance will be negatively affected. 
  • Conflict makes people suspicious to each other hence they lose the trust of each other. This invites the situation of discord in place of cooperation. 
  • Conflict detracts the members from organizational goal. They results in changing the goal forcefully i.e. goal displacement. 
  • Conflict increases the level of dissatisfaction among the losing party. 
  • Conflict if cannot be managed through effective management, may bring organization into a critical situation. 

Nature of Conflict in OB

1. Mutually exclusiveness 

"Conflict arises when two or more parties pursue mutually exclusive goals, values, perception and attitude". Mutually exclusiveness encourages individual or parties to ignore others goals, values, perception, attitudes and beliefs. Such misunderstandings among persons or groups lead to induce conflict. 

2. Deliberate behavior

Conflict arises when one person or group deliberately tries to prevent next person or group deliberately from attaining goals. One the first party strongly believes that there will be negative effect on attaining goals if second party attains goals. In case of scarce resources, individual struggle for getting them and hence conflict arises. 

3. Situational

Conflict is situational behavior which can vary person to person, group to group, place to place and time to time. Level of conflict may be changed in introduction of new variable or removal of  one variables. 

4. Different from competition

Conflict is different behavior than competition as in competition one party believes opportunity in the disturbance or interference of other party. In competition, both parties try to win but neither party actively interfere the other. 

Transitions in Conflict Thought in OB

There has been shift or at least change in taking conflict in organization. Traditionally, conflict was taken as negative factor in organizational performance and effectiveness. This view argues that conflict must be avoided as it indicates the malfunctioning or negative force within group and organization. The thought has been changed to positive factor for performance in human relations view and suggests it should be accepted. The modern view in conflict advocates that conflict is most essential to improve the organizational effectiveness. Following are the transitions in conflict though:

1. The traditional view of conflict

Traditional view of conflict considers the conflict as negative force in group or organizational performance. "Conflict was viewed negatively and discussed with such terms as violence, destruction and irrationality to reinforce its negative connotation." This view of conflict was prevailing during 1930s to 1940s and considered as one of the most important factor of attitude. Common consensus for the reason for conflict in this view was in poor communication, lack of openness and lack of trust between people, failure of management to be responsive to the needs and aspiration of their employees. Therefore, this view of conflict suggests having close attention to identify the causes of conflict and to create such an environment so that there will be no conflict at all. The theme of this view is that conflict is inevitable and harmful therefore it should be avoided.

2. Human relation view

This view of conflict considers that conflict is natural phenomenon in the group which cannot be avoided. Conflict sometimes, produces positive consequences as well. Therefore, it should be accepted naturally. This school of thought began with the late 1940s and lasted till mid 1970s.

3. The interactionist view of conflict

"The interactionist view of conflict encourages conflicts on the grounds that a harmonious, peaceful, tranquil, and cooperative group is prone to becoming static, apathetic and unresponsive to needs for change and innovation." This view of conflict advocates that conflict should not only be accepted as natural phenomenon in the organization but should be created to accelerate the growth of organization. This view assumes that a minimal level of conflict can help keep a group viable, self-critical and creative. Interactionist view of conflict has classified conflict into two categories as functional conflict and dysfunctional conflict on the basis of positive performance and negative performance of the conflict. Only the functional conflict is to be accepted in the group as it increases the group performance. Dysfunctional conflict hinders the group performance. Conflict in relationship i.e. relationship conflicts are usually dysfunctional as it creates personal clashes and decreases mutual understanding. Leaders and managers spend most of the time to resolve such relationship conflicts in the organization. Recent researches have also reported that task conflict (conflict in content and goals of the task) are also equally destruction as relationship conflict.

This view has suggested that task conflicts relate positively to creativity and innovation but they are not related to routine task performance. This means if the group performing task requiring creativity, high level of member trust and sharing common goals need to have task conflict but it does not support to the groups performing routine task which do not demand creativity. Process conflict (conflict in working process), on other hand, can be productive if the way of doing things can be changed but such conflict cannot be beneficial if the technology or process is already fixed and there is low chance of altering it.

4. Resolution-focused view of conflict

"Researchers, including those who had strongly advocated the interactionist view, have begun to recognize some problems with encouraging conflict." In some specific cases, conflict may have productive end but in all the cases, especially in the work place in which we need to interact with customer, conflict result in decreasing performance and organizational goodwill. Conflict becomes the reason for stress and hence individual start thinking issues more closely and trying for being more adversely. Conflicts reduce mutual trust, respect and group cohesion which finally reduces the group synergy. In this context, researchers have started focusing on resolution of conflict. Recent findings suggest that we can reduce negative effect of conflict by preparing people for conflict, developing resolution strategies and facilitating open discussion. Researchers have focus on recognizing the hidden emotional attachments which are reason for cross cultural conflict to a particular course of action and social identities.

Conflict Process in OB

Conflict rises in stages i.e. process. It consists of five stages.

Stage I: Potential Opposition or Incompatibility

In this first stage, some potential reasons or conditions to oppose the situation will be develop. Such reasons or conditions may not directly create conflict but may develop sufficient background for opposing the prevailing conditions. Such reasons or conditions can be divided into three general categories as communication, structure and personal variables.

a. Communication

Communication can be a source of conflict. Vague language, unclear instruction or guidance, using harsh words, noise in communication channel, misunderstanding, using jargon words, insufficient exchange of information, etc. are such communication barriers which may create conflict. It is found that the potential opposition or incompatibility increases when either too little or too much communication takes place.

b. Structure

Size of the group, degree of specialization in the task assigned to the group members, jurisdictional clarity, member-goal compatibility, leadership styles, reward systems and the degree of dependence between groups, etc. are controlling variables for structure. Differences between employee structure may cause conflict. As the size of group increases, the chances for conflict can be increased. Similarly, greater specialization requirement in activities can increase the potentiality of conflict. Greater level of ambiguity about the responsibility and jurisdictional clarity increases chances of increasing conflict. Likewise, higher level of member-goal compatibility reduces the chance of conflict. Employee friendly leadership style decreases the potentiality of conflict. Reward system is another important factor causing conflict. Conflict may arise increasing degree of dependence between groups.

c. Personal variables

Personality, emotions and values are three most important personal variable for potentiality of conflict. Personality of one person may or may not be liked to other. Some of the personality traits are likely to increase the potentiality of conflict. Emotion can also cause conflict in the group. Emotions of one person may create problem to other person so that conflict may increase. Thus, emotions may be the reason for potentiality to increase conflict. Likewise, values of person may differ to each other. One's value may be less important to other which may be reason for potential conflict.

Stage II: Cognition and Personalization

If the above mentioned reasons fail to affect negatively, there will be no conflict but if they affect negatively to the second party, then this stage is created in conflict process. Cognition is the conscious mental activities of thinking, understanding, learning and remembering the communication, personal variables and structure related variables. People starts thinking in which ground they differ with the first party. There can be perceived conflict and felt conflict during this stage. Perceived conflict is the awareness of one party or person regarding second party person of the existence of conditions that create opportunities for conflict to arise. In general, perceived conflict arises because of misunderstanding of each other's true position. Perceived conflict may not always occur because perception or misunderstanding of individual can be solved through communication. Felt conflict is the situation of personalizing the differences in potentiality of conflict. Personalization occurs if differences are internalized. This situation creates anxiety, tenseness, frustration, and hostility. Thus, felt conflict is the serious situation in conflict.

Stage III: Intentions

Intentions are simply the decision of person to act in given way. This is the decision of one person or group behavior regarding how to respond to other's behavior or potentiality of conflict.

a. Competing (dominance)

This type of intention occurs when there will be low cooperativeness and high level of assertiveness. In such type of intention, one party tries to win the situation at the loss or domination of other i.e. competing party. Any match competition and bet are examples of competing intention.

b. Collaborating (win-win)

This type of intention occurs when both the parties think that both of these parties should win while getting one's objective. In collaborating, both parties work with mentioning the differences between two parties but both the parties work with ensuring the achievement of goals of both parties. This means, conflicting parties collaborate for the benefit of both parties.

c. Compromising (lose-lose)

In compromising, both parties becomes ready to lose i.e. give up some of their objectives to gain remaining characterizing with middle level of assertiveness and middle level of cooperativeness. This type of intention is also called 'Give and Take' policy. This is traditional method of resolving the conflict. As both parties accept incomplete goals, they do not get full satisfaction.

d. Avoiding (withdrawl)

In this type of intention, one of the party is conflict avoids the other party. This means first party withdraws itself from conflict or ignores the conflict. Such situation will be created when there will be low level of assertiveness and low level of cooperativeness.

e. Accomodating

This type of intention is characterized with low level of assertiveness but high level of cooperativeness. In this intention, one party in the conflict places the other party's interest at the first priority with own willingness. This means, one party accepts the interest of other party without feeling pressure from others.

Stage IV: Behavior

This stage is visible as person or party involved in conflict show their behavior. Persons show action and reaction according to their intention. Such behavior can be open aggression, apathy, sabotage, withdrawal, obedience, late, disciple, etc. These behaviors can be shown in terms of statements, actions and reactions. Such behavior can be different at different levels. Intensity of conflict behavior may increases if the conflict will not be resolved at time.

Stage V: Outcomes

Any negative or positive consequences of conflict to the organization are outcomes of conflict. Positive consequences are improvement in performance, increases profitability, group effort, process gain etc. which are obtained with functional conflict. Negative consequences hinder the performance of the organization which are the result of dysfunctional conflict. Outcome depends upon how effectively the conflict, the outcome will be positive and vice versa.

As it is already mentioned, functional conflict may produce positive outcome if it is identified and managed properly. Managers need to identify the conflict that can be productive in the organization and manage them effectively. Very common reason of such conflict can be because of different language using in course of action to understand same thing like 'supply chain' and 'distribution system'. Managers need to solve such problems by encouraging people involved in system for open and friendly discussion, identification of differences and adoption of common language or words. Such dialogues and discussions can be in different forms on the basis of practices or organization. For managing conflict, conflicts must be addressed timely and correctly because many conflicts become disruptive because of lack of addressing properly at right time. Managers need to pay more emphasis in shared interest of group members while making conflict resolving strategies.

Source of Conflict in OB

Conflict is the antagonistic approach in which person or group formally or informally expresses the differences with other person or group. Thus, there cannot be universally accepted and fixed set of sources of conflict. Source conflict may vary on the basis of size of organization, nature of business of organization, external environment, personal attitude and behavior of group members, etc. Following are common sources of conflict.

1. Incompatible goals

Incompatible goals or goal differences of persons and groups in the common source of conflict. Both the groups wish to fulfill own group goals during which accomplishment of other group's goal remain shadow. This leads to the emergence of conflict between two groups. For example, subordinate level employees demand more pay and facilities for productivity whereas top level management demands productivity at first to set reward system. This may lead to conflict. Similarly, sales department sets goal to increase sales and pays effort to increase sales at any cost. But, account departments sets goal to decrease account receivable so that it does not want to make credit bills. These two opposite goals may create conflict between sales department and account department.

2. Different values and beliefs

Different people from different socio-economic background may have different values and beliefs. Different groups in an organization may have different norms and values. Such values form different attitude and set of behaviors. Such differences create conflicts. For example, some of top officials believe that for long term profit and sustainable market, organization need to invest in social responsibility sector but investors may believe that if they could earn more profit they would invest in social responsibility. Likewise, quality control department may have the value regarding producing quality goods even by changing current level of technology while finance department reject the idea as investment to change technology cannot be made for few years and demands to improve quality in same technology. Such differences in values and beliefs may create conflict.

3. Scarce resources

In current world, resources or factors of production are limited i.e. scarce. Different groups try to get such scarce resources and struggle for this purpose. All such groups cannot get resources and hence such groups who do not get resources get frustration and oppose other groups. Groups who become success to get scarce resources and who do not get scarce resources complete each other because one party wins to other group. For example, if there is only one motorcycle for transportation for organization purpose, it can be demanded by marketing department and account department. But at the same time only one department gets the facility but other department gets frustration.

4. Task interdependence

Task interdependence is the situation of dependability of one group upon other to accomplish its goals. In organization, various tasks of different departments as the tasks can be pooled, sequential and reciprocal. Level of output of dependent department depends on the performance of other department. If the level of performance is not same or affected negatively then conflict may arise. Such type of conflict will be created at the time of problem. For example, sales volume of any organization depends upon production efficiency and quality of product of production department. Decrease in sale may attract attention of sales department and production department. Sales department accuses for decreasing quality of product while production department may blame to the efficiency of sales department. This situation creates the conflict.

5. Ambiguous rules

Ambiguous or under and vague rules are also important factor for conflict in the organization. Employees become confuse regarding choice of course of action and their priorities. Incomplete rules and procedure, complex rule and lack of proper communication of rules promote the chances of conflict.

6. Communication problem

Communication barriers are also important reasons for conflict. Such barriers may distort the message of communication because of which action may differ or reaction become unpredictable and unusual. This attracts conflicts between two parties. Too much or too less communication, physical separation, complex language, use of jargon, personal traits, etc. are some common sources for conflict.

Nature and Types of Conflict on OB

Conflict can be realized within person, between persons, between groups and organization. This can be thus classified on the basis of level its level as individual level conflict, group level conflict and organizational level conflict.

1. Individual level conflict

Individual level conflict occurs within or between two persons. On that basis it can be classified in two types as intra-personal conflict and inter personal conflict. 

a. Intra-personal conflict

It is a situation in which conflict arises within an individual due to divergent goals, multiple roles, and role ambiguity which the individual is expected to pay. When the individual faces the problem of choosing among competing goals, individual realizes this type of conflict. Goal conflict is the situation in which person has to choose one goal out of many competing goals at a time. Role conflict is the situation in which individual has chose or take with priority among two or more conflicting roles. For example, supervisor cannot choose the role to satisfy subordinates as well as managers. If he works to satisfy the subordinates, managers command may be violated and if he gets attached with manager's command, subordinate satisfaction may remain low. Role ambiguity is the situation of being vague role. Because of vagueness in role of person, she/he gets confused regarding the goals. Unclear and vague role limits in the choice of alternative course of action. 

b. Interpersonal conflict

This type of conflict occurs when two or more persons with diversified interest, roles and goals interacting with one another. It is a conflict between and among individuals. The main causes of interpersonal conflict are as personality differences, perceptions, clash of values and interests, power and status differences, scarcity of resources etc. This is the situation in which two or more people choose different goals, course of action and make perception regarding things, situation and person. Status differences and struggle for scarce resources also attract for conflict. 

2. Group level conflict

There must be different work groups in organization to accomplish its goals. Such groups should make several decisions. These groups maintain group structure so that they have to follow role responsibility authority relationship. They have to complete and coordinate with other groups. During these cases, conflicts may arise among the group members or between work groups. Group level conflict arises with heterogeneity of members in group, communication distortions, decision making process, unclear roles and responsibility, scarcity of resources, and etc. Group level conflicts are more danger in comparison to individual level conflict. Conflict can be differentiated as intra-group conflict and inter-group conflict. 

a. Intra-group conflict

Intra-group conflict is the conflict among group members. As groups needs to choose best course of action to accomplish its goals, members have to fix leadership pattern and style. In these several issues, there may be misunderstanding among group members which results in conflict. Simply, intra-group conflict arises in new problem to be solved by group, new value system to be followed by group and role differences members in the group. Functional conflict in the group improves the group efficiency and effectiveness. 

b. Inter-group conflict

Conflict between two or more groups of an organization is called inter-group conflict. Conflict between line and staff, between management and union, between two or more work units, work teams, departments, and etc. are some examples of inter-group conflict. There can be different types of inter-group conflict as vertical conflict, horizontal conflict and line and staff conflict. Such conflicts may arise because of following reasons:
  • Differences in group goals: Work groups may have different group goals. Incompatibility in group goals attracts groups in conflict. For instance, account department may have the goal to reduce account receivable while sale department may have goal of increasing sales volume. Here, account department does not want to prepare credit bills while sales department want to sell even in credit. Such differences in goals can lead to conflict.
  • Scarcity of resources: Dependability of one group on other groups also increases probability of conflict among them. Use of power by one group to use resources by preventing other groups from using such resources increases competition between groups. Wining group gets satisfied while losing group(s) gets frustration.
  • Task interdependence: If task responsibility of two or more groups is dependent each other, groups encounter conflict. There can be three types of interdependence i.e. pooled, sequential and reciprocal.
  • Reward system: Reward system is also one of the reason for inter-group conflict. Organization wish to follow performance based reward system and hence each group needs to compete in performance for best regard. This may decrease the cooperation and support between the groups. In return, groups enter into conflict. 

3. Organization level conflict

Conflict in the organization level are very common. Conflicts can be limited within organization like personnel, departments or units. This can be conflict with the external world i.e. with other organizations. In this way, organizational level conflict may be intra-organizational conflict and inter organizational conflict. 

a. Intra-organizational conflict

Intra-organizational conflict is similar to inter-group conflict as inter-group conflict occurs between work teams in organization. Such conflict must be resolved timely otherwise management may has to face a serious consequences. 

b. Inter-organizational conflict

Sometimes conflict may arise between organizations as well. It is called inter-organizational conflict. The rise of competition among organizations may lead to inter-organizational conflict. Organizational conflicts become more extensive, more diffuse than the conflict among persons or groups. Organizational conflicts must be resolve in right time through bargaining.

Also read: Change in OB: Process, Planned and Unplanned, Magnitude, Forces, Resistance, Approaches to Managing

Dynamics of Inter group Conflict in OB

Since, managers need to work with various groups to accomplish goals. Such groups perform task on the basis of roles and responsibilities given to them. Group members need to interact each other and choose the best course of action. During this process, they fix roles, responsibilities and authority of members. The dynamics of inter group conflict are concerned with changes that occur in the perception, attitudes, and behavior of group members. Inter group dynamics, through changes in above mentioned changes, influences in interpersonal relationships and work orientation. Such dynamics can also affect in the relationship between groups as well. Thus, the inter group conflict can be studied into two major shifts as changes within each group (Intra group conflict) and changes between groups (intergroup change) as follows:

1. Changes within group (Intra group changes)

Within the same group, there can be changes in different factors as intra-groups dynamism. These changes can be as follows:

a. Loyalty

Loyalty is the extent of being the members loyal with other group members. Here, each group demands interaction of member within the group rather than with members of other groups. 

b. Leadership

Group leadership gradually changes into autocratic. Autocratic leadership decreases responsiveness of group member in the activities of other group members. 

c. Task accomplishment

Groups become more interested in task accomplishment. Each group member of the group feels pressure for better output. For improved performance, formal environment of group is changed into informal. 

d. Group structure

Within the group, group structure becomes more rigid. For this, specific responsibilities are allocated with additional rules and procedures. 

e. Cohesiveness

Group dynamism is also possible in group cohesion. Member attachment to each other gets increased. Inter member differences in thinking, choosing course of action, etc. will be reduced. Personal criticism within group gets reduced. Each member feels proud for being group member.

Also read: Organizational Development in OB: Characteristics, Values, Objectives, Goals, Prerequisites, Process, Interventions

2. Changes between groups (Inter group changes)

Changes in the relationship between groups are inter group dynamism. Following changes are realized as inter group changes:

a. Perception

Perception is the way of thinking towards other groups and their activities. There is distortion of perception about own group and about the other groups. Perception about own group becomes selective while about other groups are distorted. Stereotyping i.e. making judgment on the basis of narrow visionary perception becomes high. This makes the person positive towards own groups while negative with other group. 

b. Interaction and communication

Interaction and communication between groups decreases due to their oppositions perception. Low interaction decreases the combined performance. Interactions become rigid and formal. Formal relationships between groups decrease the job satisfaction in the groups. 

c. Orientation

Today's groups are oriented towards win-lose orientation i.e. 'we win so that other groups should lose'. Each group aims to win at the short run. Groups take their win as victory and pay due effort to win. 

d. Hostility

Level of hostility for the competitor group increases as group member of other group are taken as enemy. Mistrust between groups increases. 

Approaches to Conflict Management in OB

As we have discussion above, conflict is not always harmful and equally fruitful always. Managers need to identify the level of conflict so that it should produce positive synergy in place of the possible serious consequences. This means any conflicts in the organization should be resolved to protect group energy from deterioration. As conflict can be individual, group or organizational, functional or dysfunctional, vertical, horizontal and line and staff, task, process and relationship conflict. In this regard, an important question arises as how to approach to the resolution of conflict. In summary, we can take two important approaches in resolution of conflict i.e. conflict stimulation and conflict resolution. 

A. Stimulating Conflict

All the conflicts are not always harmful. Conflict in many cases, helps us to create new things which help to make better decision and results from. It is believed that over obedient employees, ever gloomy working environment, and majority yes men in the organization do not help to innovate new ways to doing things. So, different working environments where member of group search new procedure and methods to overcome shortage of current work techniques and methods need to be created. In order to have positive effect, the optimum level of conflict must be stimulated. But, the level of conflict should be determined and managed otherwise it may create serious problems. 
The following methods are used to stimulate conflict:

1. Reorganizing

By changing the structure of organization or work group, conflict can be created. Breaking up existing work groups, departments and reorganizing them so that there can be new members, responsibility and authority. Because of this, conflict will be stimulated to adjust, recreate or to maintain the position of members. Such actions may create uncertainties and call for readjustments. 

2. Communication

Communication can be another important way to stimulate conflict. In this approach, managers or supervisors manipulate message. Ambiguous or threatening messages can be used to members to stimulate new ideas. 

3. Encouraging competition

Competition is the most important way to create conflict in ideas, procedures and methods. To encourage competition, organizations can provide bonus, incentives, pay and rewards for excellent idea. Completion stimulates conflict among employees and or between groups. This is because one group tries to overcome the other group with new ideas, procedure and methods. 

4. Bringing in Outsiders

Management may sometimes stimulate conflict by bringing in people from outside the organization or group whose values, attitudes and styles differ significantly from the prevailing norms, values and working style of existing employees. This helps to create divergent opinions, innovate ideas and originality. But, this technique may form relational conflict between new and existing personalities if not managed timely. 

B. Resolving Conflict

Conflict works till its optimum level otherwise it becomes dysfunctional. Thus, conflict should be resolved so that it does not increase beyond the optimum level and produce negative consequences. The approach which aims to control the conflict at the optimal level, is called resolving conflict. Following techniques can be used for resolving conflict:

1. Problem solving

This approach involves in bringing conflicting parties together to share their problems. Discussion is not allowed on the issue who is right or wrong but only on identification of problems confronting conflict. It is expected to identify possible solution agreeable to both conflicting parties. This helps to resolve the misunderstanding among the conflicting members or groups. 

2. Smoothing

Another technique of resolving conflict is smoothing i.e. minimizing the conflict and telling everyone that things will get better by highlighting the similarities through peaceful co-existence and eliminating their misunderstanding. This means under smoothing, similarities in conflicting person or groups are identified while dissimilarities are ignored. 

3. Compromising

Compromising is the process of resolving conflict on the basis of give and take approach. In this process, parties in conflict bargain and negotiate to gain something of own ideas and losing some i.e. accepting other party's idea. Each party involved in conflict gains something of value. 

4. Avoidance

Conflict can also resolved temporarily by avoiding it. In this approach, decision are made to sidestep the conflict or postponing the conflict matter till later. If the conflict are minor and attention is required for other issues then this method is suitable to adopt. This approach is followed by thinking that conflict can be settled automatically with time. 

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